Career Tips from DACA College Graduates
Published on August 26, 2021
Since 2017, the number of DACA-eligible students attending college has significantly increased. As DACA students graduate, they need relevant information and assistance to prepare for graduate school, apply for an internship or fellowship, or land a full-time job after college.
This article provides individual perspectives from three graduate students and alumni who have navigated the college application process, completed an undergraduate program, and are currently working full time or attending graduate school. While these college graduates differ in terms of their career interests, these tips can be helpful to all DACA students looking for career advice after college.
Interview With Career Expert Oscar Romero
What you study in college does not determine what you are capable of doing for the rest of your life. As an alum, I can breathe easier knowing this and set my eyes on a goal that may take a couple of years without questioning if it's the right decision. Once I reach the goal I rest easier knowing that regardless of the outcome I invested in myself to learn new skills and abilities. Then, I can identify if practicing these new skills and abilities will provide me joy, financial stability, and the adequate work-life balance I desire in my life. If I can answer yes, then I can continue on the same track. If a few of the answers are no, then I look at what can be adjusted and set a new goal. It is alright if it takes me in a completely different direction.
Be kind to yourself. Love that you are questioning who you are because that will always be part of your journey. Redefining yourself is not a bad thing. Understand that a degree and grades do not define your self-worth but enhance your journey with new experiences. Find enough conviction to get through your degree and then challenge how far you can make it with that degree every day until you find you want to explore something new.
Interview With Career Expert Ricardo Crespo
Develop a strong network of professors, financial aid advisors, mentors, upperclassmen, etc., as these people will be the ones to offer the best advice on how you should approach your passions and aspirations.
Keep an updated resume and/or curriculum vitae. You will need this as you progress through your academic and professional career. Similarly, gain new experiences! Regardless of your major or intended career, never be afraid to try new things and gain competence in a variety of areas of expertise.
Lastly, make sure that you take a break and feel proud of what you have accomplished. Graduating college is no small feat, and you should take time to enjoy life with your family and friends.
Interview With Career Expert Judith Perez Castro
Networking: Reach out to people in the fields you're interested in pursuing — they're usually willing to help. Your undergraduate professors, etc. are there for you as well post graduation. Don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation letter or advice in general.
Have a game plan: If you know what you want to pursue as a career or in graduate school, you have to know the steps to reach your goals. Research deadlines and requirements. If you don't know, ask the person in charge or reach out to someone who has done what you're wanting to do.
Be willing to put the work in: You may not be the smartest person but work ethic goes a long way. This journey isn't easy — if you want something you have to grind for it.
Feature Image: Stephen Swintek / DigitalVision / Getty Images